Tag Archives: YARTHS

Parents: Naughty Kids Need More Sleep and Clever Kids Do Too.

Parents: Naughty Kids Need More Sleep and Clever Kids Do Too..


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Travel for free

no jet lag, no taking off your shoes, no packing …

Panoramas are a great aid to any homeschooling studies related to travel or history.  Muslim families especially will enjoy these, from the Sahih Bukhari site.

Young Sprout recognizes the Kaaba and is already asking when we can go, so I’m planning to do some downloading.  For the time being I simply downloaded the Cave of Hira (where Angel Jibreel first visited the Prophet SAWS) to make sure it’s working properly.

Technical note:  You have to download the Sahih Bukhari panoramas to view them.

A while back on my other blog, I wrote about panophotographies.   This post contains a link to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.  It’s amusing that even in 2009 I was ranting on about people who dress up in red hats and purple dresses to express their individuality just like everyone else!


Filed under field trip, Travel, Yet Another Reason to Homeschool (YARTHS)

Revolution for toddlers

Here’s my attempt at a stylized Egyptian flag made with jelly beans, the easiest colourful material we could get our hands on at short notice on Friday morning when President Mubarak finally stepped down.  After 18 days of roller coaster stress, times when we were cut off from relatives in Egypt (and knowing that Abu Sprout’s dad was trying to get from Cairo to rejoin his family in Alexandria after the government cut off train service for a couple of days), no one had dared prepare anything for a celebration.

I’m not sure that being able to stay up till all hours to follow the progress of a revolution counts as Yet Another Reason to Homeschool, since you really can’t explain  politics to a three year old.  For older children it definitely would be, though.

Young Sprout now recognizes The Bad Man’s picture.

I remember as a child I thought the word “duringthewar” which I thought was one word that simply meant “any time before you were born” and thought I had missed out on something cool.  I hope Young Sprout doesn’t feel he missed out, because the people of Egypt waited so long and suffered so much more than people realized to reach this point.  I just pray that this will lead to real change in a positive direction.

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Homeschooling in Morocco

A year traveling in Morocco and homeschooling, does that sound wonderful?

My sister-in-law and her husband took their four children for the last school year, and have promised some guest posts and photos.  My older niece Hind is writing a book and sent an excerpt.


This photo I believe is Saidia, which I remember from back in the day when it was a very small town with a beach and an ice cream shop.  Now it’s being developed and has condos and a golf course.


Anyway, here’s Hind!


I skipped downstairs, black high heel hanging from my hands and entered the big living room near the door. I walked towards the beautiful dresses we got. Leila was out in the small waiting room grabbing her shoes. I suddenly heard, elegant clicky foot steps rushing towards the door. Leila presented herself through the door. She paused as if she were in a photo shoot.

“So do you like my shoes?”  Leila asked as she kicked her foot up to show me her black high heels. It had a huge bow on each shoe.

“Yeah, I can’t wait” I said excitedly. We both switched from our pajamas to the breathtaking dresses.

“Oh, Leila you look amazing!”I said as a big smile grew on my face

“You too!”  She said. And instantly a smile grew on her face as well

“Come on girls!” Mom said as she entered the room, in her blue dress.

“Wow, girls, you look great!”Mom said as she took a good look at us

“And you Mom, you look amazing” I said

“Yeah, you look great Mom!” Leila said

“Thanks! Now let’s go!” Mom said. I quickly slipped my feet through the shoes and tightened them. I walked down to go to the garage door like we always did, and waited for Leila and my mom. I was extremely exited. It was going to be so much fun. We’d get to dance all night. Who wouldn’t want that? Although I’m not a good dancer, dancing for me was so much fun.   Really, it was all for the fun.  Leila rushed behind me.

“I hope Miriam and Esmae will be there” I said as I stepped outside. The lights from the Fruits and Vegetables sign light up across the busy street. We waited for mom to lock the door before we left. Then we started to walk alongside the Hanoots (stores). The big man who gave Leila and I gum all the time smiled at us. He was such a nice person. We smiled back. We walked down the dirty path.

“Yeah they were cool people! We totally had fun.” I said with a giggle and turned a left, to enter the neighborhood. We could hear the music already. It was so exciting. With every step I took the music got louder, the lights got brighter and my excitement level got higher. And there we were facing the open door. I stepped in. Houda stood by the door.

“Salam,” she said with an excited but busy smile on her face. She then directed us to the roof. As I climbed up the stairs, I noticed our uncle standing in front of the mirror. He turned as he saw us climbing up the stairs. We said him and he confirmed that the wedding would be on the roof. Scattered around the stair case that lead to the roof, were the annoying little boys from yesterday, who were playing cards. As we walk passed them, they were quiet, and defenseless. They didn’t make a sound and stood to the side.

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Why the Taj Mahal was not the high point of our field trip

Hmm, I dunno, maybe because we didn’t actually go to India?



Or could it be …,. that the model railway, complete with a button to make it run, was a competing attraction?

it couldn’t be the Duplo, or could it?

This was a great outing to the Sidney Museum, which is free, does not have a gift store, and is entirely run by volunteers.  The annual Lego show is on through March.


The Taj Mahal is the biggest Lego kit available with nearly 6,000 pieces and took 35 hours to assemble.  We left with thoughts of making a Kaaba with Mega Blocks (made in Canada!), you would need a base plate and lots of black blocks with a few yellow ones.  I could see that as a good homeschooling project.  (Young Sprout already recognizes the Kaaba) .


The Duplo train was the most fun for youngsters because it was interactive.  We had to promise to go back for more fun.

My personal favourite is good old Albert, because the artist had to put some thought into building a wall with just three colours to convey an image.  I think he did a pretty good job, don’t you?


Filed under Art, field trip, Math, Travel, Yet Another Reason to Homeschool (YARTHS)

What to do with smaller sprouts

A shout out to Sonita, who has put a lot of thought and experience into this post.

Of course back in the day, children were either homeschooled, had a governess or tutor if they were rich, or went to the one-room schoolhouse. My grandmother recalled listening to what the teacher was doing with the big kids and picking up a lot, no doubt at the cost of what she was supposed to be doing at the time.

Whatever, there was more than one age of kid being educated together.  Just a thought.

Even with busy work, there is probably way less downtime than in the average public school day, YARTHS!



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Tiger Mom

This is not a Tiger Mom, but it’s Umm Sprout’s much loved Tigger, which was the closest thing to a Tiger Mom in this family!

Amy Chua’s book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is definitely going on my reading list.

Oprah’s interview with her is here and she says: I wish I’d realized earlier that parenting cannot just be one size fits all.

Well, with a quote like that, how can I not rise to the bait?

There’s more detail on the Wall Street Journal online

Ms. Chua says, “What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you’re good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences.”

In my opinion, this concept that children are basically lazy and unmotivated, incapable of making choices, is a subtle form of child abuse.  I’m not saying that the tail should wag the dog or that children should get to decide everything, just that children are like snowflakes and by putting them into a strait jacket they will not be free to make choices when they’re older. Relentless competition and the pressure to not just get all A’s but be first in the class in every subject is unrealistic.  Besides, what if Tiger Cub is Meryl Streep or Picasso?

Without wanting to fall into stereotyping, I believe that this model might work with less damage to the child in a traditional society where everyone has the same expectations.  But in the west, children will not fail to notice that other families have very different expectations.  In any case traditional societies everywhere are increasingly scarce.

On top of the immediate psychological costs to the children, this model is preparing them for the daily grind of a routine job.  Yet in today’s workplace it is more important to be flexible, to be able to work in a team, to creatively solve problems.  Today’s children won’t grow up and go punch a time clock on an assembly line.  They need to be self-motivated, not motivated by fear of Mom, the teacher, the boss.  Don’t bring children up in the expectation that they will hate work.  That’s a self-fulfilling prophecy and so Dickensian (Really, Cratchitt, must you take the whole day off?)

Although I’ve worked in a factory assembling widgets, and in offices where people were literally micromanaged into nervous breakdowns, now I am so blessed to be able to work from home at something I enjoy.  Looming deadlines get to me sometimes, but I don’t have the attitude that work is a necessary evil.  It’s a way to make a difference in the world, as is whatever I can do to help homeschool the Young Sprout, and my creative pursuits.  How tragic to deprive anyone of that potential.

This is, of course, definitely YARTHS (yet another reason to homeschool).


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